A Cross-Cultural Study Speech Act of Condolence in English and Arabic


The present study investigates the speech act of condolence from a cross-cultural perspective that is used by Iraqi EFL learners, compared with Australian native speakers of English (ANSEs), as well as the effect of Iraqi Arabic. It is hypothesized that Iraqi EFL learners have no adequate pragmatic competence to offer condolence appropriately, they use different strategies for offering the speech act of condolence, transfer of L1 knowledge into L2 is the widely used strategy when using religious statements of condolence, and Iraqi EFL learners have a cultural gap about death and how to offer condolence in English culture. This study aims to investigate the pragmatic ability of the Iraqi EFL learners in offering their condolences in the English language in a proper way, and if they have enough pragmatic competence or not. Also, to uncover the reasons behind any pragmatic transfer or any use of interlanguage pragmatics. It aims at showing the cross-cultural factors that make the participants selecting differently from different strategies. A Discourse Completion Task (DCT) were distributed to three groups of participants Iraqi EFL learners, Australian Native Speakers of English (ANSEs), and Iraqi native speakers of Arabic (INSAs). The adopted model is a modified version of Elwood (2004). The analyzed data show that Iraqi EFL learners use strategies that carry a religious face more than other strategies. There is a cultural gap in death occasions and condolences. New strategies are found depending on the participants' responses. There is an evidence of pragmatic transfer, pragmatic failure and a huge use of interlanguage pragmatics.